How do you like your superhero fights?

I just finished a fight scene in my serial, and I was talking about it with a writing buddy of mine. We got into a discussion about superhero fights in novels, with me backing my choice of mixing fairly graphic and visceral close quarter brawls with high flying heroics in the same story. She said I can only choose one. What do you guys think, and if you had to choose one which would it be?

I think diversity is always the way to go. Big operatic fights would make sense with certain situations/characters, the close graphic fights with others.

The problem your friend sees might be one of tone. As long as you know what emotions you're trying to hit in the various fights, you should be fine.

I don't think there is one 'right' way to do it. You can make anything work - heck, Psycho Gecko writes comedy fight scenes with highly inaproppriate moves, and they work. :)

I'd say there are two important aspects to any superhero fight scene, no matter the style:

a) the reader needs to be able to follow what is going on and why.

b) The reader needs a reason to care.

I've read some brilliantly written action (not necessarily superhero) scenes that were just boring to me... because the author didn't give me a reason to care. And I've read others that confused me so much that I just skimmed to the end.

I was just worried that it would discourage readers if I had both. Thanks guys!

And or gals. I don't know.

it depends on view. If you focus on one character, then sometimes they'll be in a fight, close and visceral, sometimes they'll be watching. I'd say both Legion and Superpowereds has both.

The same way I like my coffee: lots of sugar and cream! ;)


Late to the discussion, but whatever. For me, I like fights to be creative, but also fairly quickly paced. A variety is also good with superhero fiction; in fact, I would say it's even better to have new twists or gimmicks added to the combat, depending on what the story will allow. If you see two strong dudes beating each other up, and all you have for the hero to fight afterwards is more strong dudes, it can get dull, since you already know how the fights likely to go down. Unless said strong dudes each have a unique style of combat, but even then, that's easier to pull off with visuals. After a couple strong dude fights, it's good to mix it up with flying blaster fights, or an environmental struggle, or something of that nature.

Otherwise, the fight should be right to the point. While it may seem cool to show off a lot of detail, one can quickly get bogged down in, say, a martial arts battle, when every single punch and jab is described in a long sequence, along with all the counters. It all starts to blur together. A couple complicated moves may be alright, but at some point, "Right punch, leg kick, uppercut" serves the flow of the scene better than, "He thrust out his right hand in a quick jab, hoping to knock her off balance; she parried, but he was expecting this, and let the parry shift his momentum so he could throw his weight into a knee to her side. She was quick, however, and spun with the knee to slap him on the back, making him stumble face first into the dirt. However, as he fell, he brought up his arm in a curve, rolled with the land, and spiral kicked his legs out to strike at her multiple times from hip to shoulder. She blocked the first blow with her right hand..." and then keep proceeding that way for ten paragraphs.

With lots of ham.

I can't believe I never responded to this thread. You don't necessarily have to choose between battles with lots of powers thrown around and stuff that's more MMA-oriented. Use what you think a character would use. Someone with no training is going to fight differently than someone who occasionally brawls when drunk, who fights differently than someone who took karate at a McDojo because their mom wanted them to do something after school, than someone who is an ex-Army Ranger, than someone who is ex-Israeli Defense Force, and so on and so forth. Their powers matter, too. Characters like Wolverine and Deadpool are really skilled, but will often fight in ways that no sane person would because they can heal from it. Others, like Galactus, Thanos, Apocalypse, or Darkseid, are unlikely to be depicted using lots of fancy martial arts moves because of their overwhelming power. Captain America has a distinctive fighting style utilizing his shield, while Batman often uses shadows and misdirection to induce fear in opponents during hostile encounters.

So think about your characters, what their powers are, what they are likely to know, how skilled they are likely to be with their powers, and so on. Like Taulsn said, even consider if they're the sort to ham it up or get too showy.

As a reader, I don't care what style fights they are as long as they're bloody. I like the teeth falling out, huge black eyes, bloody lips kind of fighting. Fighting is brutal and I want to read that. The one thing I hate to see is a huge fight that someone walks away from. People don't just walk away from fighting, especially the kind of fights that I like. My favorite fight scenes are from the comic "Invincible" by Robert Kirkman. They're bloody, they're extremely violent, and sometimes people die.

As a writer, I've only done brawl style fighting since all of my characters have been, aside from superhuman strength, normal humans. Whenever I get around to my superhero story, I'll probably have both. Like others have said, it depends on situation and character.